Category Archives: Hunting Heritage

Be the Change. Become a Digital Mentor

It’s been said you’re either a part of the problem or you’re part of the solution.

Do you love the outdoors? Are you willing to spend 2-3 minutes per week ensuring your way of life lives on into the next generation? If so, you’re the person we’re looking for to become our next Digital Mentor.

We get it. Mentoring can be tough. Life is busy; there are so many demands on your time.

But, why should you care about spending a couple minutes a week passing on our outdoor traditions? Why spend the time helping new people?

The math is clear. Each year that passes the average hunter ages nearly 10 months. Today the average license buyer is about 42 years old. By the age of 68, license purchases fall to nearly zero. At the present pace, we’re only one generation from participation in the outdoors reaching alarmingly low levels. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Digital Mentoring via the free Powderhook app, made possible through a partnership with Cabela’s and Pass it On – Outdoor mentors, is one way we can work together make the kind of change we need. Only you, the individual outdoorsman, have the ability to make it happen. No agency program, no event planned by an organization, and no ad campaign from a company can do what you can do with just a couple minutes a week.

Only you can change this trend. Will you join us?

Join the movement. Get the app and get to work. Visit www.powderhook.com today.

An Open Letter to the Anti-Hunter

If you don’t approve of hunting, for whatever reason, I want you to know I appreciate you taking a minute to read this letter. My intention is to offer a couple facts about hunting you may not know. I don’t expect to change your mind altogether, but I do hope to provide some information that may create a more informed conversation.

You’re right. Our civilization has changed such that many people no longer need to directly participate in the food chain. Cities of us can go to grocery stores for the food we once grew or killed for ourselves. So, why then does hunting still matter?

You’re right. All living things have value. Animal lives matter, and that’s all animals, not just the one whose hair is stuck to your shirt right now. If that’s true, how can someone argue killing an animal is not only justified but important?

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Transferring Control of Federal Lands Would Devastate Hunting and Fishing

“We have to do this,” Blaine Cooper told me in a rush. “The BLM lit a fire to burn this ranch down because they want the uranium that’s under it! The left blew up buildings, killed people, enslaved people to make this wildlife refuge!”

Cooper was sitting behind the wheel of a white pickup, heater blasting, and talking to me through the open window. It was the middle of last January, maybe 12 degrees above, here at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, with day just breaking over a universe of frost-whitened sagebrush and 6 inches of old snow.

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TEACHING MY SONS TO LOVE FISHING

The more time I spend as a parent the more I realize how much I appreciate my father.  Beyond the values of hard work and caring for others that he instilled in me, what I appreciate most is my love of the outdoors that comes from my time spent in a boat with dad.  Recent articles and other discussions here on IDO have talked about the topic of less youth getting into fishing these days and my biggest hope is that I am able to do as good a job of passing my passion on to my son as my dad did for me.

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Setters and Pointers in Advertising

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The old shed next to our barn was a no-frills zone built only of studs and clapboard. Its purpose was simple: to keep tools and equipment dry. There was no insulation, so it wasn’t a focal point for the men in either the summer or winter. Except for rainy days, the top section of the Dutch door remained open for much of the year, and the shed attracted a mix of field mice, barn cats, and knock-around boys. I was one of them.

There was the sweet smell, a mixture of hay and oats. Oil and kerosene were stored outside, and a gust of wind would blend it all together into one fine bouquet. As a kid trying to figure out the world, I’d grab a bottle of soda and spend hours just checking out what kind of things were in there and puttering around. My time in the shed was never wasted. Continue reading Setters and Pointers in Advertising

6 Examples Where Hunting Helped Preserve Wildlife

In recent years regulated hunting has become a scapegoat for so-called conservation organizations.

These groups often claim that hunting is not an effective means of preservation and seek to paint sport hunters as villains when wildlife populations decline.

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And while it is true that wildlife faces increased threats around the world—primarily a result of habitat loss in the wake of burgeoning human populations, unsustainable agricultural, mining practices and a growing black market for the trade of animal parts—regulated hunting has proven to be an effective means of protecting wildlife and, most importantly, the habitat they require to survive. Continue reading 6 Examples Where Hunting Helped Preserve Wildlife

Hunters and the Gun Debate

To hunt you must shoot. But, not all hunters are “gun guys” and not all “gun guys” are hunters. When it comes to the highly politicized topic of gun control, where does this leave people who only own guns to hunt?

As gun owners, I believe the 2016 election may be the most important of our lifetime. Our government is run by people who show up. If more anti-gun voters turn out, we can expect an erosion of our gun rights. If more 2nd Amendment supporters turn out, maybe we can affect the gun conversation in ways that better reflect the way we feel.

I believe the “threat” to gun-owning hunters is more immanent than some might think. The gun in the photo above is a semi-automatic shotgun (as you probably know). It’s a ‘hunting gun’, and also happens to be my most cherished worldly possession. This means it scares me when politicians talk about banning ‘semi-automatic weapons’ or propose legislation that would require me to store it at my local police station. While I’m not aware of any United States governmental body literally taking guns from law-abiding citizens, there are many examples of city and state governments entertaining and even enacting laws that I view as an infringement on my right to keep that specific gun in my home and use it to hunt.

In New York City, I would be required to have a permit to purchase this gun, have to register it, even if I already owned it before the Bloomberg gun law passed in 2014, and I would need a license to leave my house with it. You and I both know that only law abiding citizens are going to go through all of that. So, what comes next?

The path toward stricter gun control is well worn in countries like Australia and England, where hunting is often referred to as “The Sport of Kings.” It’s time consuming and expensive to jump through the necessary hoops to secure a firearm, find a place to go, and to learn hunting safety. So, the wealthy are more likely to hunt and the poor are less likely to hunt.

We live in a time when easy access is changing everything. As Americans, we enjoy access to cars we don’t own via Turo, to homes we can’t afford via HomeAway, and even to things such as boats we didn’t buy via Boatbound. Through our phones we can access tee times, bowling lanes and movie tickets; we can sign-up for softball league, enroll our kids in gymnastics, and pretty much get whatever we need whenever we need it. Making access to the guns you need to hunt more difficult creates one more hurdle, one more time sink, one more reason to choose something else to do. As hunters, we know that going less often hurts license sales, decreases funds for conservation through our Pittman-Robertson Excise Tax contributions, and negatively affects our ability to bring new people into our way of life.

As a hunter, you may choose to hunt without guns. I often do so myself. The overwhelming majority of our cohort uses a firearm as their primary method of take. No matter how you hunt, I encourage you to consider the role of guns in hunting and use your voice in support of the type of leaders who will uphold our 2nd Amendment. Follow the laws yourself and push for stricter enforcement of those that already govern the possession and trade of firearms in your area.

Without your voice in the gun conversation, our beloved North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, and wild animals and places we value more than any other group of people on the planet may not survive.

About the author:
Eric Dinger is the co-founder and CEO of Powderhook.com, an app built to help people hunt and fish more often. He can be reached at eric@powderhook.com.

AMERICA NEEDS MORE BOY SCOUTS

My wife, Stephanie, and I just spent the weekend Christmas shopping in Chicago. Our annual trip through the aisles of Michigan Avenue and State Street is a fun change of pace from the streak of hunting and fishing trips that usually dot my calendar throughout the year. While in many ways I would consider Chicago a great American city, my perception of our third largest city took a few body punches on this trip. In my opinion, Chicago is suffering.

We saw marches, boisterous demonstrations from disenfranchised youth, leagues of tired, stressed-out workers, and in general observed a city of people with their bolts over-tightened. Hundreds and hundreds of police officers, visible in the photo above, lined the streets in an effort to maintain civility. Life is complicated everywhere, but have we stooped so low that we’re willing to accept this as “normal” in one of our greatest cities?

Our work at Powderhook is about getting people into the outdoors. Fundamentally, we believe a connection to the natural world helps people gain a sense of place and perspective and helps them learn to value the world around them. Certainly, the outdoors can be one vehicle for exposing people to a value system, but in a place like Chicago, it is flat difficult to access those experiences. The war on traditional values is alive and well.

According to Census Data, nearly 2/5 children in America is growing up in a single-parent household. Of the remaining 3/5 of American kids, two-thirds are members of dual-income families, leaving Moms and Dads of any household less and less time to lead a family. Only 17% of Americans attend religious services each week, the lowest number ever recorded, eroding the value systems taught by our faith-based institutions. As our melting pot urbanizes, gains weight and hustles to make a living, must we accept that our values are changing? Or, is there something we can do to preserve the important things as the superfluous tides roll in and out?

Chicago and all of America needs more Boy Scouts. Along with groups like Girl Scouts, 4-H, FFA, FCCLA, and others, these organizations exist to teach fundamental values that can be tough to find in other places. They seemed really tough to find last weekend in Chicago.

Read this excerpt from the Boy Scouts website. To me, this sounds the America we once knew and wish to see once again:

The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness.

For over a century, the BSA has helped build the future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun. The Boy Scouts of America believes — and, through over a century of experience, knows — that helping youth is a key to building a more conscientious, responsible, and productive society.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do.” I think he’s right. Time to go get my kids signed-up.

About the author:
Eric Dinger is the co-founder and CEO of Powderhook.com, an app built to help people hunt and fish more often. He can be reached at eric@powderhook.com.